Harrods’ food halls are world famous – and for good reason. Renowned for offering the finest produce from around the globe, as well as whipping up delectable treats in store, a visit to the Harrods food department is more akin to a sightseeing trip of gastronomic excellence than a visit to a high-end supermarket.
This week the department store will add yet another string to its foodie bow with the opening of the Chocolate Hall: an entire section dedicated to the world’s favourite treat. Timed to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the opening of Harrods’ first confectionary counter, and marking the end of an extensive four-year refurbishment of the store’s food halls, the Chocolate Hall promises to be as much an experience as it is a retail destination. Alongside creations by some of the most exclusive and highly-regarded chocolatiers in the world, the hall will host special live demonstrations from Harrods' in-house chocolate masters, while shoppers will also be able to see these artisans at work as they go about making a daily spread of handmade chocolates.
Of course, Harrods' connection to chocolate is nothing new. The store began creating its own-brand chocolate range in the early 19th century and, by the 1970s, more than 100 tonnes of the sweet stuff were being produced on site per year. To this day it is the only UK department store to make and sell its own chocolate in-house and all cocoa used by Harrods is responsibly sourced, with the store a longtime supporter of third-party initiatives which ensure the livelihood and wellbeing of cocoa farming communities across the world.
With this new site, however, the department store is solidifying its intent to, in its own words, ‘become the number one chocolate destination’. To do this it enlisted the renowned David Collins Studio, the design team behind the wider Food Halls restoration project, to create a space which recognises the importance the building’s Grade I-listed status, while incorporating modern materials and technology.
Careful attention has been paid to preserving the Edwardian grandeur and period features of the building, including the painstaking restoration and repair of the original marble and granite floor and tilework. Elsewhere a light-well crafted from black alabaster greets guests upon entry and pays homage to a viewing gallery that formed part of the original architecture, creating the perfect viewpoint from which to survey offerings from the likes of Venchi, Godiva, Pierre Marcolini and William Curley.
“The launch of the Chocolate Hall not only brings the most evocative chocolate craftsmanship to life in an unparalleled setting,” says Harrods' managing director Michael Ward. “It also marks an important commitment towards responsible sourcing and welfare standards, something that we are proud to uphold as the cornerstone of chocolate production at Harrods.”
The Harrods Chocolate Hall is open now. We don’t know about you, but we know where we’re heading this weekend.